Several months ago a young mother came to my office, accompanied by her in-laws. She was a bit frantic because her husband was being held by immigration authorities and was in danger of being deported. Her story was familiar: her father-in-law was a Legal Permanent Resident who had submitted an I-130 relative petition for his son in 1992. The visa was finally available so her husband had hired a "notario" to fill out the appropriate paperwork and submit it to the immigration service. Everything seemed to be fine until the day of her husband's interview. No sooner had he sat down than ICE agents slapped him into handcuffs and placed him into custody.
It turns out that her husband had three criminal convictions dating from 1995 to 2001, all three of which qualified as Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude and one of which qualified as an aggravated felony. We informed her that her husband's crimes made him not only inadmissible to the United States, but also made him ineligible for bond. She said the "notario" that helped them with their forms never even asked them about criminal history, and a review of the application showed that she had marked "no" in the box that asks about criminal history and arrests.
So, we set to work. First, we assured this woman that her husband's case was not hopeless. Second, we informed the immigration court that we would be renewing our client's application to adjust status and filing a 212(h) waiver of the grounds of inadmissibility. On August 2, 2010, after being held in jail for approximately 6 months, we held the individual hearing where we presented all of our client's equities. We carefully detailed his criminal history, letting him explain exactly what happened in each instance and express to the judge his acceptance of his responsibilities and also his remorse at his mistakes. At the end of the hearing, the IJ found that our client merited a favorable exercise of discretion and granted our client's application. He is now back home with his family and living as a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States.